MANILA -- The declaration of martial law is a "tool" to save the country's democracy and should only be used when the Constitution dictates, Malacañang said Sunday, a day after the 47th anniversary of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos' proclamation of martial rule.
"It is only when it is clothed with abuse by its enforcers that it becomes obnoxious," Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
"Relative to our quest to strengthen the Republic and its institutions, the Palace urges everyone to look at the past to guide us on what to do with the present, that it may serve us better in the future."
Panelo said Marcos' imposition of martial law created a "deep wound to an entire generation" although it "instilled discipline among the citizenry" and dismantled the "then spreading communist insurgency."
"Regardless of political persuasion, the Marcos martial law continues to haunt those who have traumatic experiences during the one-man rule," he said.
"It is best to reflect on this day to learn the lessons derived therefrom, using the same to unite us as one people and one country."
Marcos' regime, which lasted 20 years, ended when a non-violent revolution overturned it and installed Corazon Aquino as president.
The Marcoses allegedly plundered $10 billion from state coffers during their reign and only $4 billion in cash and assets have been recovered by government.
The Marcos family is an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, who had allowed the late strongman's burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in November 2016.